Sweet spring delight: Exploring maple syrup season in Kawartha Lakes | Ontario Culinary
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Sweet spring delight: Exploring maple syrup season in Kawartha Lakes

Originally posted on explorekawarthalakes.com

Nothing signifies the beginning of spring quite like a trip to the sugar bush for a tasty sweet maple experience–a beloved staple of Canadian cuisine. The maple season keeps syrup producers busy with the labour-intensive process that requires patience, skill, and a deep understanding of the natural environment.

Taste the Kawartha Lakes difference

As the temperature begins to rise and the sap begins to flow in the maple trees, producers in Kawartha Lakes jump into the sap collection and production process. Producers around the region are ready to share their goods with local residents and visitors. Kawartha Lakes is a unique and beautiful area of the province best known for its scenic lakes, forests, and rolling hills. When it comes to maple syrup production, the region’s unique features and production methods make it a must-taste destination for lovers of this sweet treat.

The region is positioned at a higher elevation than many other syrup-producing regions, which extends the maple season and lead to a richer, more complex flavour profile of the syrup. The region’s microclimate, paired with the traditional methods of production, results in a high-quality rich syrup that visitors can experience firsthand with a trip to the sugar bush.

Read more: Explore Maple Syrup in Kawartha Lakes

Experience traditional production methods

There are many exciting ways to experience the Kawartha Lakes maple syrup production season. Sugarmakers offer sugar bush and shack tours, allowing you to taste the syrup at each stage as the sap moves through the evaporators. Savour the smoky flavour left behind by the wood-fired evaporators used by many producers in the region. Come for the day or stay for the weekend to get the most out of the season. Visit one farm or try to identify the difference between area producers, each seeking to achieve the highest possible syrup quality. The unique flavour of the region and the rich cultural heritage associated with this seasonal delicacy makes it a fun and delicious way to experience Ontario’s beautiful countryside.

How to experience the maple season in Kawartha Lakes

Here are some tips for planning your maple tour through Kawartha Lakes:

1. Look for the OMSPA logo

If you’re looking to experience the best of Ontario’s maple syrup in Kawartha Lakes, consider visiting farms and production houses that are members of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (OMSPA). OMSPA members keep up to date on the most effective techniques for making high-quality syrup using eco-friendly and sustainable methods. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of maple syrup or just discovering its delights for the first time, Kawartha Lakes is the place to be for this sweet and delicious treat.

Related: Visit The Kawartha Choice Farm Fresh Maple Producer Listings

2. Find an experience to suit your preferences

Sugar shacks are often tucked away in the forest of maple trees. Many sugarmakers offer a hands-on farm experience with a trip into the sugar bush and tours of their production facilities from sap collection to evaporation and bottling. If you’re feeling less adventurous, you can visit a farm store or local market to purchase maple products and bring a taste of the region home with you.

A local farm, The Roost Farm, offers a fully immersive experience where participants can make their own syrup from start to finish. Choose a one-day experience or make it a package deal with an official Kawartha Lakes Signature Experience with a weekend stay in their new glamping cabin. This Signature Experience package features a two-night maple syrup-themed glamping experience that allows you to make your own syrup and taffy, learn about traditional and modern syrup-making techniques, and explore a working sugar bush. Tend the fire, tour the farm, explore the trails, and relax in nature during this unique experience.

Read more: Visit The Roost Website to Learn More about Their Signature Experience

3. Experiment with flavours

Ontario is home to a wide variety of flavours and grades of maple syrup. You may enjoy light and delicate varieties with a subtle sweetness or you may prefer darker, more robust syrups with a deep and complex flavour. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different grades and flavours from Kawartha Lakes maple trees to find your favourite. Whether you’re looking for light syrup for pancakes and waffles, or rich syrup to drizzle over ice cream or baked goods, there’s something for everyone.

4. Look for a festival

Planning your visit around a maple-themed event or festival can help you get the most out of your visit and this season. Ontario Maple has declared the first weekend in April as Maple Weekend, with many local producers hosting special events for participants to learn more about the syrup-making process. Sample the region’s finest syrup, and experience family-friendly activities, like pancake breakfasts, sugar bush tours, and maple candy-making workshops.

Participating in Maple Weekend On April 1-2, 2023 is local Kawartha Lakes maple syrup producer, Rainbow Woods, Clancey and Gale’s Maple Products, and Puddleduck Farm. Experience a close-up view of the syrup-making process from sap collection to the bottling process. If you visit Rainbow Woods, be sure to sneak in a snuggle with a lamb to complete the experience or explore their trail network.

Related: Visit the Rainbow Woods Website

5. Come for the syrup, stay for the culture

In addition to its unique flavour, Kawartha Lakes maple syrup is a part of the region’s rich cultural heritage. Production of this sweet treat has a long history, dating back to the Indigenous peoples who first inhabited the region. Maple syrup was and is an important part of the Indigenous culture, as they used it for a variety of purposes and in traditional ceremonies and celebrations. Some groups use it as a sweetener for food, a trading commodity, medicine, or a preservative for meat or fish for long-term storage. The spring sugar-making ceremony traditionally celebrates the return of spring and the renewal of life.




Maple Itineraries

Whether you’re visiting for a morning, a couple of days, or a whole weekend, there’s something every visitor can do and enjoy. Here are some example itineraries you can consider when planning your visit to Kawartha Lakes during the maple syrup season:

The Sweet Tooth Trip

Taste the flavours of the season as you make your way through Kawartha Lakes.

Begin your day with a visit to Clancey and Gale’s Maple Products in Pontypool. In business since 1931, this third-generation maple syrup producer offers delicious and sustainably-produced maple products using a reverse osmosis machine in their traditional sugar shack to remove the water from the maple sap before boiling, reducing energy consumption. Book ahead to confirm your tour time.

Head 15 minutes further up North to Janetville, where you will find Fleetwood Hills Farm, home of Moore’s Maple Syrup. Call ahead to arrange pick-up of your maple syrup, sold year-round at the farm and see if you can taste the Kawartha difference.

Continue on to one of the region’s craft breweries in Lindsay, Fenelon Falls, or Bobcaygeon. Many breweries tap into the sweetness of maple to make the most mouthwatering seasonal brews. Stay for lunch, walk around the downtown, and visit the shops that offer a wide variety of local artisanal maple-themed products. While experiencing the flavours of the region and the season, you can enrich your trip with a visit to local farms, historical sites, and artisan workshops.

Depending on where your travels take you, you can stay at the Lake Dalrymple Resort in Sebright, a family and pet-friendly cottage accommodations resort or the Bobcaygeon Inn and The Royal Moose Pub in Bobcaygeon, or Eganridge Resort in Fenelon Falls.

Grab treats from Cake by the Lake or the Bobcaygeon Bakery in Bobcaygeon before you head home and bring a piece of Kawartha maple home with you.

The overnight extravaganza

Make it a package deal with an official Kawartha Lakes Signature Experience at The Roost Farm just north of Kirkfield in Dalrymple. Offering a curated experience, this glamping trip provides a healthy balance of rustic farm life with clean, modern accommodations. Using traditional syrup production methods that have been passed down through generations, you can enjoy this interactive living link to the area’s past.


Head to Dalrymple for your first night in a completely private glamping cabin tucked neatly between the farm fields and maple bush at The Roost Farm. Located just 90 minutes North East of Toronto, you can enjoy dinner on the way or stop at a local restaurant as you get into town. Check into your cabin, grab a warm drink, and enjoy the beauty of the rural night sky.


Wake up and get ready for the day. Enjoy a breakfast of farm-fresh eggs or freshly made pancakes in the cabin or head over to Quaker Oaks Farm Store for a morning snack. You can call ahead of your visit to this eclectic store to make an appointment to visit their animal sanctuary. Back at the Roost, the maple experience begins with a 3 km walking tour of the farm property with a demonstration and educational session of the entire syrup-making process.

Learn how to make your own maple syrup the traditional way over an open fire. Tend to the fire and experience the joy of coaxing sap into syrup. While the sap evaporates, explore the surrounding trails, visit the farm, and enjoy a beautiful spring day.


Finish off your weekend by filtering, finishing and bottling your syrup to take a slice of the weekend home with you.
While you’re in the area, enjoy the beginning of the birding season that coincides with the maple syrup season. Complete your trip by visiting Carden Alvar Provincial Park, an officially designated Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. Take some time to enjoy an outdoor walk, immerse yourself in nature, and spot rare bird species.